Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 by Megan

Shedding false labels: ThisFish tracking seafood to the source

This is a repost from the Ecotrust blog, which is designed to inspire fresh thinking, spark innovation, and encourage investment in natural economies. Read more stories about Ecotrust’s work, and that of our partners and friends, at

ThisFish Pacific Coordinator Chelsey Ellis and BC Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick announce new funding for promotion this week. Photo Courtesy of ThisFish.

Our friends at Ecotrust Canada have been working on ThisFish, a web-based seafood traceability program, for several years now.  Participating fishermen affix a code to each fish they catch and upload information about that catch to a website. When consumers get their seafood, they can use their mobile devices to trace the code back to the fishermen.

With close to 30 seafood harvesters,  and several large trade groups and retailers now partnering with ThisFish across Canada, the app is now gaining more acceptance. British Columbia officials delivered funding this week to promote it and make it more widely used across the province.

“The B.C. government’s Buy Local program will encourage diners and shoppers to connect the B.C. seafood they are about to enjoy with the place and people who harvested it, through $69,794 in funding to promote Ecotrust Canada’s ‘ThisFish’ program…The funding will be used toward expanding the market potential of traceable B.C. seafood by engaging local small retail and restaurant markets. The system also is used to market and share information along the seafood supply chain. It will assure consumers that the products they buy are indeed local B.C. seafood.”

The new developments come at the right time: while eaters are demanding more information about their food, a recent study by Oceana found all kinds of fraud in seafood labeling across the United States.

“DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.”

The story of how the app tracks fish from shore to store is laid out in the video below.

Here’s hoping ThisFish continues to expand beyond Canada’s borders.

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